Friday, 16 August 2013

Southport Library update

What Haydn had to say to the Council

From the initial proposals put out to consultation the Cabinet have never considered any other proposal than Option B.

We view the cabinets decision to turn down proposals from local campaigners to run Southports libraries with a mixture of Sefton Libraries and volunteers as unsound.

Cllr Dowd said he was open minded and would consider feasible and sustainable proposals. The local campaigners met very right deadlines set by the officers after a great deal of work.and quality input. During this period I called a meeting with Council Officers April 22nd at the Atkinson so we could explain in outline the philosophy of our proposals. This was so council officers at the start of their drafting could be minded by our professional librarian/ volunteer model regarding job descriptions. This was totally ignored.
Likewise at the meeting I asked the officers to keep us informed as we did not want any shocks or changes to procedure or approach as we met our tight May deadline. An excellent example of local democracy in pro active action. I was aghast when at the next cabinet meeting that officers stated that our proposals had not yet been fully considered. This was after us meeting a deadline which officers had set. The cabinet meeting lasted nineteen minutes. We had been told that our proposals would run parallel with the Cabinet proposal on a Main Line it was very obvious the local campaigners very feasible, sustainable proposals were being Branch Lined and in truth  being treated as both an imposition and unwelcome.

Low and behold we of course did get a shock when it transpires the basis on which the officers judged the bids were not decided upon until two months later 2nd July. This was never communicated. It is a case of moving the goalposts, playing Monopoly with Cluedo rules and it is simply unfair. Especially as of a meeting held April 22nd this possibility was clearly raised by us and we were assured we would be updated. We weren't and it is a disgrace.

In Ainsdales case the statutory criteria which in the past has existed has been totally ignored eg mileage, entitlement, community useage.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

A tax imposed by Bootle and paid in Southport?

Local Lib Dem councillors have told Sefton Council that Parking charges locally must not be allowed to turn into a penal tax on local motorists and shoppers in Southport.

Following High Court decision last week when Mrs Justice Lang declared that the1984 Road Traffic Regulation Act "is not a fiscal measure and does not authorise the authority to use its powers to charge local residents for parking in order to raise surplus revenue for other transport purposes" Lib Dem councillors have asked for evidence that the council are acting in accordance with the law

Libs Dems opposed the Sefton Labour Councillors when they voted (Council Budget, February 2012) to raise a further £ 1/2 million from parking charges and penalties. Council officers are currently working out precisely how to do this before a public consultation this autumn. This would push Sefton Council up from being the 101st recipient of parking cash to being no 70 in the national list.

Town Centre Lib Dem Councillor Tony Dawson says:

"Parking charges were first brought in 30 years ago to stop shop and office employees blocking shoppers by sitting in prime spaces day after day. But the Council's profit out of this activity has ratcheted up over the years. I do get the feeling that the scale of rise being proposed represents an 'easy hit' on Southport by Labour councillors based in Bootle.  

Cllr Iain Brodie Browne, local Lib Dem Lead said ‘ It is clear from the court ruling that Councils cannot use income from parking charges to plug the black hole in their budget. In Southport’s case it is particularly unfair as 80% of all parking revenue comes from Southport hardly any is collected elsewhere in the borough. The massive hike in parking charges that Labour plan will hit Southport very hard. Our town’s economy is based on attracting visitors and these increased charges could damage our recovery. This is a time to assist our retailers and tourist attractions not to impose higher taxes on them